Being a fan of science fiction, how can one ignore Orson Scott Card. He has written two Hugo winning books, one of which is amongst my personal favourites, Ender’s Game. Here is a brief synopsis to whet your appetite
It is set in Earth’s future where mankind has barely survived two conflicts with the Formics (an insectoid alien race also known as the “Buggers”) and the International Fleet is preparing for war. In order to find and train the eventual commander for the anticipated third invasion, the world’s most talented children, including the extraordinary Ender Wiggin, are taken into a training center known as the Battle School at a very young age and trained in the arts of war through increasingly difficult games.
The book is very very good. It takes you through the morality issues, the “human” issues and some political issues. The setting created by Card is truly awesome. I know most of the focus is on the BattleSchool described in the book, I loved the virtual game that Ender plays and how he forces the computer to continue beyond it’s limits and how, eventually, it is revealed that the game is tied intrinsically with Ender’s life. And the ending…..wow!!! It was a complete knockout punch by Card. Never had he prepared the reader on what was going to happen.
I read the sequel too, Speaker For The Dead in which Ender has come to terms (or is in the process of coming to terms) with his role in the massacre of an intelligent race in the previous book and now is actually a protector of life.
But the sequel did disturb me a little bit. In the first book the focus was on the action, politics and moral issues. The sequel was all those but there was a heavy dose of spirituality in the book. Spirituality is fine with me but I could not help feel that Card had overdone it. It seemed he was PREACHING even though he never put it in so many words.
And when I read the third book in the series Xenocide, I was convinced that there was something going on with the author (remember this was all before easy access to Internet so I could not look it up).
When I found this about Card, I have begun to detest his novels. Not Ender’s Game. That one is still pretty good. But the rest of the novels, have lost their meaning.
Here is an author who wrote and explained beautifully what it means to be a human; What it means to preserve life; What it means try and kill another race just because it is different, and then in real life he is all for killing “them because they hate us”.
This hypocrisy is really difficult for me to swallow.
Update : The reason for this post is this article on Card.